Please Help Stop the Tippah County Fair Rabbit Scramble
Each August, at the Tippah County (Mississippi) Fair, the second most popular event of the Fair, according to the Fair’s 2015 Facebook page, is the Farm Animal Scramble, during which organizers release rabbits, chickens, pigs, goats and calves into the arena and let small children chase them until they catch them. Rabbits are chased by children aged 4 and under–an age where children have little to no understanding of how animals as vulnerable as rabbits (prey animals with very delicate spines) should be handled. In addition, according to Mississippi State Statute 97-41-5, the scramble should be illegal, based on the handling practices alone:
If any person shall carry, or cause to be carried by hand or in or upon any vehicle or other conveyance, any creature other than a dog or cat in a cruel or inhuman manner, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
As you can see from the photos shared by the Fair, the animals are caught by any means necessary, with no concern for the animals’ welfare. Pigs are grabbed by their legs, goats by their horns, and most disturbingly, rabbits are grabbed by their ears.
The photos show rabbits, many of whom are babies, then being carried around, even while running, by their ears. This practice is not only terrifying and painful for the rabbits, but it damages the cartilage that supports the ears, and, because the body is suspended without support, can easily fracture the rabbit’s spine, leading to paralysis. Scruffing, too, is another dangerous practice, especially without supporting the rabbit’s back, as it can also fracture the rabbit’s spine when the rabbit kicks.
After the rabbits are caught, they are given to the child who caught them as prizes. The only qualification for bringing home this animal is the child’s ability to chase and grab it.
Twenty-seven states, and countless cities and counties (including Jackson, MS), currently have laws that prohibit or restrict the giving away of live animals as prizes, in order to protect animals from being brought home by people who are either uneducated about the care of those animals, or who did not intend to bring home a pet in the first place.
House Rabbit Society respectfully requests that the Tippah County Fair end this cruel practice, in order to protect the animals being harmed by it. In particular, we ask that rabbits no longer be used, as the suffering that they undergo cannot be justified in the name of entertainment.
Please see a video from the 2014 scramble where you can easily see the treatment of the rabbits.
We know that many of the attendees love animals. In fact, according to the Southern Sentinal, the most popular event at the Fair is the Pet Show, during which both children and adults can show off their beloved pets–from hamsters to burros–and enter them in competitions ranging from smallest pet to best trick.
The dates for the 72nd annual Fair have not yet been released, but there is plenty of time before August for the organizers, if they wish to do right by the animals, to cancel this cruel event and come up with a fun and humane substitute.
Please call, email, or write and politely ask that the event be canceled:
Tippah County Fair Association
10791 B Highway 15 S
Ripley, MS 38663
Phone: (662) 837-4948
Tippah County Board of Supervisors
Supervisors: Jimmy Gunn, Greg Harrell, Mike Graves, Dennis Grisham, Chad Newby, Chancery Clerk, and Mike Long
Phone: (662) 837-3655
Fax: (662) 837-1105
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant
Phone: (601) 359-3150
Web contact: http://governorbryant.com/contact